1. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Help our kids grow into a responsible adult or responsible adults?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ohmyrichard, Nov 8, 2012.

    Hi,everyone.
    In my teaching plan for the English writing class next week, I want to say "However, we parents and school teachers need to be stern in helping our kids grow into a responsible adult." on one of my PowerPoint slides. But right now I doubt whether "However, we parents and school teachers need to be stern in helping our kids grow into responsible adults. " would sound more natural. Please tell me, in this situation, which phrase would you native speakers of English use more often or always, "helping our kids grow into responsible adults" or "helping our kids grow into responsible adults"? Besides, do I need to add "to" before "grow"?
    Thanks in advance.
    Richard
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Plural to plural. You're either helping "kids into responsible adults" or "each kid into a responsible adult". I probably would prefer the latter, but either is correct.
     
  3. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks a lot, EdFromNY.
     
  4. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Hi,Ed. I have read your reply again and noticed that in your two versions you omitted "grow". Can we say "help kids into responsible adults" without "grow" before "into"?
     
  5. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Hi, EdFromNY. Just now I browsed google and accidentally came across the title of "All Parents Want Their Children To Become A Doctor" of a facebook post. Is it that there is the same problem with this title and should be changed to "All Parents Want Their Children To Become Doctors"? Thanks.
     
  6. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    "All parents want their children to become a doctor" = all parents want to combine all of their children and form one doctor

    "All parents want their children to become doctors" = I cannot think of a way to more clearly elaborate on this sentence.

    plural to plural, just like Ed says.

    Would you say "we want to become a doctor?" Or "we want to become doctors?"

    Things also become needlessly complicated when we get down to people vs. persons.
     
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  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You need "grow", but no "to" necessary. And definitely "responsible adults" - otherwise you're saying that all these kids would grow into one single gigantic responsible adult, which is just funny.

    So yeh, it should be "help kids grow into responsible adults."
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I left out "grow" to make it easier to see the two components of the sentence.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'grow into' isn't really apt, since becoming responsible doesn't happen automatically, as growing does... i'd suggest changing to:

    'help our kids/children become responsible adults'...

    and yes, with the plural 'kids/children' you must use the plural 'adults'...
     
  10. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Hi,maim.
    Do you mean that native speakers of English never ever say the following?

    tell the kids to make their bed / raise their hand / draw their house;
    all the kids want to become a doctor.

    And just now I found at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Non-parents at the end of the first paragraph of the entry of "1. Asian Parents" the sentence of "They want their kids to be a doctor or a pharmacist." I have read the whole entry and I don't think it is a sentence written by a non-native speaker of English.
     
  11. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Please dont tell me you just cited urban dictionary as a source of basic grammar. That's like citing The Prince as a source of how to handle personnel issues in your company.

    English speakers say a lot of things, that does not make the things they say grammatically correct.

    Multiple kids cannot become "a doctor."
     
  12. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thank you, JamesOliv.
    So you mean we have to always observe the rule of "Plural to Plural or Singular to Singular" in all such situations and if not, we are wrong grammatically? Are there any exceptions to this rule?
     
  13. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks, EdFromNY.
     
  14. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    You are right there. But as a non-native speaker of English, I often find it hard to tell just when English speakers are speaking in a very casual way that easily leads to grammatical mistakes and slips which I may take as correct expressions.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, i can see how confusing that may be... but if you want to teach your students correct english, you'll have to be sure to 'vet' your sources... not everything you'll find on the internet will be correct... stick to reliable resources, to learn what is correct... i have posted a list of the ones i use in one of the stickies on this site... keep them in your 'favorites' menu to consult when not sure about something...

    here it is: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=21049

    hugs, m
     
  16. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    I know that feeling well. When I was stationed in Italy, I had a heck of a time separating the sources. But just like Maia says, you really have to be careful when choosing sources. This is especially important for an English class.

    Urban dictionary is the thing I consult when I don't understand something my teenage cousin says. But the grammar there can be downright atrocious.

    I know it isn't was if ths is not your native tongue. A lot of native speakers mess the rule up (as you are seeing).

    You can see the rule in action if you just flip the singular and plural.

    "I want to become doctors." I suppose this could mean that you want to earn multiple doctorates. It could also mean you want to split yourself and create more than one doctor. Now if a nonnative speaker came up and said this, I would assume they meant "I want to become a doctor." But I wouldn't purposely teach them to say the wrong thing.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a native speaker, I would say:

    I told the kids to make their beds.

    But I would also say:

    I helped the kids make their beds.


    English has exceptions for absolutely everything. :) I would guess that there are exceptions, perhaps in idioms. But I can't actually think of any.
     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yes, I can see where this is very tricky because it sounds right when you say it.

    For instance, you would probably say:

    "Honey, don't forget that the kids have band practice today."

    Does this mean the kids are attending the same band practice? No. It's just how we say things and it isn't always constant.
     
  19. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks, maia. Dictionary.com is what I use very often when I am online. I just happened to get acquainted with it a long time ago. Honestly, I have no way of telling which one online dictionary is better than another. When I am offline, I use the physical versions of Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English and Oxford Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary .
    Thanks a lot for your list of reliable resources.
     
  20. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thank you, JamesOliv. I like what you said about figuring out who said what. I also like your interesting remarks about urban dictionary. BTW, can you tell me a little bit more about urban dictionary? What kind of dictionry is it? I came across it this time only when I was searching for relevant sentences but I actually know little about it.
     
  21. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks a lot, JJ_Maxx. But it seems that we've turned full circle back to the stickiness of the problem under discussion.
     
  22. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks, ChickenFreak. Is what JJ_Maxx said at the end of his post- "Honey, don't forget that the kids have band practice today."- one exception in line with your understanding?
     
  23. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Multiple people can all belong to "a band." A band, by definition, consists of more than one person.

    So, this is not an exception any more than:

    "We are going to join the army."

    An "army" is a military force that consists of more than one person (despite a former slogan that you can be "an army of one."). You would not say "we are going to join the armies." Even if you meant that each individual was joining a different army, the sentence would be confusing.

    Multiple people cannot become "a doctor" because "a doctor" is a single individual.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    richard...

    the best american dictionary i've found is the 'american heritage dictionary of the english language'... even the older versions are immensely helpful, as they contain a great etymology section in the back...

    this is the one i always used: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0395203600/?tag=postedlinks04-20
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, the use of "have (activity)" may be an idiomatic phrase; I'm not sure. But to me, in this sentence "band practice" is an activity, and would be treated grammatically very much like a place. Therefore, it wouldn't be pluralized. To make it a little more standard, let's change it to:

    "Don't forget that the kids have to go to band practice today."

    this would be similar to:

    "Don't forget that the kids have to go to school today."

    You wouldn't pluralize the place here - it wouldn't be:

    "Don't forget that the kids have to go to schools today."

    This is true even if the kids are going to two different schools. It would (I think) be grammatically correct to say:

    "Don't forget that the kids have to go to their respective schools today."

    but it would be stilted and unnatural.

    So I wouldn't call it an exception but a different concept.
     

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